Obama reiterates troop reductions in summer in Afghanistan

11:08, June 08, 2011      

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U.S. President Barack Obama reiterated on Tuesday that the United States will start reducing its troops in Afghanistan this summer.

"We're scheduled to begin the transition to Afghan lead, and I reiterated that we'll begin reducing American forces this summer, even as we join with Germany and our NATO allies in supporting Afghans in their political and economic efforts to forge a lasting peace," Obama said at a joint press conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel after their White House meeting.

Obama claimed that the U.S. and its allies have broken the Taliban's momentum and trained Afghan forces, and are preparing to "turn a corner in our efforts."

The New York Times reported on Monday that Obama's national security team is considering troop reductions in Afghanistan that would be "steeper" than those discussed even a few weeks ago, with some officials arguing that such a change is justified by the rising cost of the war and the death of Osama bin Laden.

"We share the opinion that in Afghanistan we wish to approach the matters in a sense of integrated security approach, a network security approach," Merkel said. "We want to build up not only the military side of it, but the civil side of it."

"We wish to go in together, out together. Afghanistan will need our support, however, in the long run, so we will not abandon them, " the chancellor added.

Germany contributed the third-largest troop contingent in Afghanistan after the U.S. and Britain.

Source: Xinhua
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